Showing posts with label st patrick's day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label st patrick's day. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Day for Drinkers

I have a confession to make. I broke my 'no going to the pub on St Patrick's Day' rule last night. having had a fairly quiet shift at the Starr Hill tasting room, a colleague and I popped into McGrady's a quick pint - seriously, the shift was insanely quiet, apparently the lure of half price pints of America's most award winning dry stout was not strong enough. I have two main reasons for not darkening the door of a pub on March 17th each year, one of which I covered in this post, and the other being the pub is packed with people who rarely if ever go. St Patrick's Day, or International Amateur Drinkers Day as some refer to it, is like Midnight Mass for many people, the one time of the year when they actually attend.

Thankfully the beer drinking day for regular pub goers is just around the corner, because April 7th is Session Beer Day. I am sure most of you already know the definition of 'session' beer, as proposed by Lew Bryson and thoroughly approved of by me (I am sure Lew sleeps all the more soundly for knowing that), just in case though a session beer is:
  • 4.5% alcohol by volume or less
  • flavorful enough to be interesting
  • balanced enough for multiple pints
  • conducive to conversation
  • reasonably priced
Session beers are an essential part, in my unhumble opinion, of a good pub, given that pubs are places where people go to meet friends, talk, play pool, all over a few pints of something tasty. I guess this is one of the reasons I fail to understand the mindset of people who want 'more bang for their buck' and drink several pints of imperial IPA because it gets them drunk quicker. While beer is an intoxicant, I am not convinced that beer 'culture', and especially pub culture, is about getting trashed, it's about being social, and beer lubricates the sociability of the scene.

Anyway, last year both Beer Run and McGrady's here in Charlottesville had a decent selection of session beer, including Williams Brothers simply wonderful Scottish Session Ale, which I think I drank McGrady's out of last year. Hopefully this year will see more session beers on tap as well as more pubs having something available. Although this ad is for whisky, I love one line in particular.....'all hail to drinking man!' (or woman, obviously, yes thank you Stan)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saintly Days

Scotland and Ireland have a long shared history, going back to the days of Dál Riata and the Gaelic kingdom covering much of modern County Antrim and a large chunk of the West of Scotland. Indeed the Scots, as opposed to the Picts, came from the North of Ireland, when Scotia meant Ireland rather than Scotland, so I guess it is no surprise that the Scots and Irish have a strong affinity for each other and share many cultural traits. I imagine then that everyone and his uncle will be expecting me to celebrate St Patrick's Day with all the vim and vigour that many have come to expect of this particular day, especially given the possibility that St Patrick came from Scotland, specifically near the town of Dumbarton.

Then again, and I say this as a self professed Hibernophile, I won't be going out of my way to wear green, eat corned beef and cabbage, drink a trough full of Guinness or start wishing all and sundry "top of the morning", or engage in any other "traditional" activities. Why ever not I hear my slightly less curmudgeonly friends ask? Simply put, despite my affection for our Gaelic cousins to the south, I am not Irish and would feel like a cultural interloper. Not to mention that, having studied theology and read the writings of St Patrick, a fairly quick read really, it is difficult to put St Patrick and drunken revelry in the same bracket for me, just as St Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas have been debased in the name of commercialism.

Before I sound like a total miserable sod, I would like to wish my Irish readers a very happy St Patrick's Day, with plenty of good craft beer, great music and healthy craic (a word quite possibly originating from Scots) in the pub.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...